In the Frontier League, CarShield Field in O’Fallon, Missouri is the ballpark to see increased offense.
Among many broadcasters within the Frontier League, CarShield Field was known as a “bandbox”. Dimensions for CarShield Field consist of a high-right field fence that is only 299 feet deep, a 4-foot high right-center field that is 325 feet deep, an 8-foot high center field fence with an 8-foot high left field fence 320 feet deep. Yeah, it is a “bandbox” indeed, mainly because the normal center field fence is 400 feet deep.
Now, there is data to prove that CarShield Field is the most hitter-friendly ballpark in the Frontier League, not only just by its run-scoring environment, but also it’s home run likelihood. After completing an internship over the summer with another team in the Frontier League, the Normal CornBelters, I decided to view some statistics in the Frontier League from a sabermetric viewpoint, like Park Factors. Park Factors measure how much a given ballpark add or lessen a team’s hitting ability. In the Frontier League, there are twelve teams and each have different park effects. To assure a more refined park effect, I took the total run environment of each park of the last five years. The formula for the run environment park factor goes as follows: PF: ((homeRS + homeRA)/(homeG)) / ((roadRS + roadRA)/(roadG)) where:
- homeRS: Runs scored at home
- homeRA: Runs allowed at home
- homeG: Home games
- roadRS: Runs scored on the road
- roadRA: Runs allowed on the road
- roadG: Road games
An average park is a factor of 1.00. Anything above 1 is a hitter-friendly park, anything below 1 is a pitcher-friendly park.
Using a 5-year total gives a more definitive idea of how well a park plays. The reasoning behind this is because using a one or two year factor gives too much factor to the players. A good hitting team in one or two years would not be the same in five years.
Here are the Frontier League Run Environment Park Factors:
(Red indicates pitcher-friendly park, Blue indicates hitter-friendly, the deeper the color, the more extreme the park is)
CarShield Field, highlighted in a darker blue, has that Coors Field effect(Coors Field had a run park factor of 1.37 in 2016). According to the chart, CarShield field is expected to score 35 percent more runs than a context-neutral park like Boomers Stadium(Schaumburg Boomers). For example, in 2017, the Gateway Grizzlies scored 221 runs at GCS ballpark. If Gateway played their home games at CarShield Field, they would have scored 298 runs.
While the run environment park factor was a good indicator of hitting or pitching ability, I did not think that it was enough. So, I calculated the home run park factor for all teams. The formula is just like the run park factor except, runs are replaced with home runs.
Here are the 5-year park effects based upon home runs:
Again, CarShield Field leads the pack with a whopping home-run park factor of 1.67. This means that a given team or player is 67 percent more likely to hit a home run at CarShield Field compared to a context-neutral ballpark. The highest MLB home run park factor in 2016 were the New York Yankees in with a factor of 1.38, nearly 30 percent less than CarShield Field. Another park that has a hugely extreme home run factor is GCS Ballpark with a 1.62 home run factor.
CarShield Field is the “bandbox” that it is deemed, and the data supports the case.